Look both ways. Watch where you’re going. Pay attention.
Texting while walking is literally killing people in the streets. Our technology addiction is taking its toll, and we have no one to blame but ourselves. This is bigger than carpal tunnel syndrome or eye strain due to low light. This has the potential to take lives. Students who are using a cell phone are 43 percent more likely to get hit when crossing the street, according to a Study by the University of Birmingham.
Take Jason King, a 21-year-old who was killed in December while crossing a street in New York City. He was listening to his iPod and didn’t hear the truck coming. Tiffany Briggs, 25, walked into a parked truck while on her cell phone in San Francisco. It isn’t just young people either 8212; a 68-year-old man fell off his porch while on a cell phone in San Francisco.
In 2008, more than 1,000 people went to the emergency room in San Francisco because they tripped, fell or walked into something while distracted on their phones.
In superhero fashion, two state governments have already begun to swoop in with new legislation to try to eradicate the issue.
If passed in Arkansas, it would be illegal to have earphones in both ears while walking on streets, intersections or highways. If passed in New York, it would be illegal to use electronic devices while crossing the street in cities with more than 1 million residents.
At TCU, instances of students running into cars while texting and walking have occurred. In the past two years, Susan Landon, an administrative assitant with the Physical Plant, wrote in an e-mail that she has had three students walk into her car while stopped at the corner of Stadium Drive and Bellaire Drive. The students were texting while walking.
No, Fort Worth is not as big as San Francisco or New York City, but this is still a major issue that needs to be solved. Another problem comes when cities try to figure out how to enforce these laws. Will punishments be as light as jaywalking tickets or as severe as running a red light? Will they apply to cyclists and runners? These are key points that deserve consideration before legislation is passed.
Students should be proactive in their efforts to stop the use of electronics while crossing the streets. Look both ways, put your phone down and don’t check it before you are safely across.
There is no reason one of our students should risk increasing the growing number of casualties due to electronic distraction while walking.
Bailey McGowan is a sophomore broadcast journalism major from Burkburnett.